Unlike in Long War or vanilla XCOM 2, the maximum squad size remains fixed for the entire campaign. Players can send up to 8 soldiers on most missions, and up to 10 or 12 on special missions. Network Tower Assaults have a maximum of 5 soldiers. On missions involving Havens your squad will be reinforced by the Advisor assigned to them and in some occasions a few rebels.
However taking as many soldiers as possible on every mission is not advisable due to the new Infiltration mechanics, which make it so the squads sent on a mission have to wait to build up infiltration to carry out the mission without it being excessively difficult. Taking too many soldiers increases the time to fully infiltrate, in turn increasing the time those soldiers are unavailable. To compensate, there is no fatigue mechanic, allowing soldiers that just completed a mission without suffering wounds to go on another one.
Since players have to manage a high amount of soldiers and missions, the ability to create persistent squads by assigning soldiers in the Squad Management interface exists to streamline soldier selection by loading up a squad from the list, and then making ad hoc changes if necessary. Changing the composition for that particular mission doesn't change the composition of the squad. If all squads are busy on missions, a "temporary" squad will be created to be sent. Squad Management is mostly optional, but it can be a handy shortcut for favourite soldier compositions, and once Officers are available they're a useful way of keeping soldiers under the same officer to maximise the benefit of Leadership.
Soldiers begin as Rookies without class, and as they promote to Squaddie they are assigned one of the 8 main classes at random:
As the campaign goes on, soldiers will be able to be trained into specific classes in the Guerrilla Tactics School, where they'll also be able to promote to officers and learn new abilities. Rookies can also be trained as Psi Operatives, a class unlocked through the Psionic Labs facility. If that's still not enough, for owners of the Shen's Last Gift DLC completion of the Lost Towers or research on Mechanized Warfare will unlock the possibility to build robotic soldiers: SPARKs.
The cost of recruiting new Rookies is the same across all difficulties: 10 supplies each. But the availability of new recruits is much lower than vanilla, with 5 recruits available from the start in Rookie and Veteran difficulty, 3 in Commander, and 2 in Legend. More soldiers become available for recruit by putting rebels on Recruit jobs, which has a chance of providing soldiers to the recruit list. New soldiers can also be obtained from the Black Market or from mission rewards.
In Long War 2, experience for soldiers is primarily earned by mission completion rather than getting kills. The XP awarded at the end of a mission is based on the number of aliens on the mission. Mission XP is divided equally among soldiers returning to base, with a cap of 33% of the total experience awarded to each soldier. Therefore soldiers in large squads will gain less XP than soldiers in smaller squads, as the same total XP is split among more people. Note that the 33% limit only applies to squads with one or two soldiers, effectively treating such squads as though they had 3 soldiers. The XP assigned to the unfilled spots is wasted.
Soldier's stats work similarly as in the base game, with a couple of differences:
- Health is the amount of damage soldiers can take before dying or going into bleedout.
- Aim determines base to-hit chances.
- Defense lowers enemy hit chances. Negative Defense will increase enemy hit chances instead.
- Dodge is the chance to demote enemy hit quality (see Mechanics). Negative Dodge has a chance to promote enemy hit quality instead.
- Mobility is the amount of meters (not tiles, 1 tile is 1.5 meters) the soldier can move in a single action.
- Hacking determines success chance in hacking actions.
- Will is the defensive stat against psionic attacks, stunning effects (such as from Stun Lancers), but no longer determines bleedout chance, which is now based on overkill damage.
- Psi Offense determines success chance and strength for some psionic abilities.
Soldier's starting stats can vary depending on whether the Not Created Equally option is active. By default, it is, and soldiers will start with randomized startig stats, making each soldier unique. Disabling the option will give every soldier starting stats fixed at the average. SPARKs are always Created Equally, don't have Will or Psi Offense stats and have differences over normal starting stats: +8 Health, +30 Defense, -3 Mobility, +1 Armor.
Not Created Equally works by swapping stats and will never produce really bad or good rookies. A rookie with high Aim might have low Defense or Health as a result. For the purpose of those modifications some stats are worth more "points" than others. The total of "points" a soldier has on all of their stats is 478. This information can be used to determine the Psi Offense of rookies prior to building the Psionic Labs in order to save high psi offense troopers as future Psi Operatives:
- Dodge, Will, Hacking and Psi Offense are all worth 1 point.
- Defense is worth 1.5 points.
- Aim is worth 3 points.
- Health and Mobility are worth 12 points.
In Rookie difficulty soldiers will also gain a bonus +5 Aim, +5 Will and +1 Health.
Stats by Class
As soldiers rank up in their assigned class, they will gain stat bonuses. These are the total stat gains for each class:
|Total Stats Gained|
* The guaranteed will is gained half at Squaddie and half at LCpl, and then every rank it raises a random amount between 4 and 12. Will is also capped at 100.
⁺ Psi Operatives also gain Psi Offense, starting at 45 at Squaddie, and raising by 4 each subsequent rank, up to 73 at MSgt.
The amount of time a soldier will be out of action is based how much damage they took over a battle and what percentage of their maximum health (including item granted HP) this accounted for. The lowest HP the soldier got down to will be what the time calculation is based on, so healing the soldier during battle will not reduce healing times (only the Field Surgeon perk will), but it will help prevent higher healing times if the soldier takes damage again.
The Advanced Warfare Center can be used as an infirmary and staffing a scientist will increase the healing rate by 50% (100% on Rookie), decreasing healing times by 33% (50% on Rookie).
Wound Time Calculation
The points needed to heal a wounded soldier are rolled randomly between a minimum and a maximum depending on the percentage of health lost (based on the lowest HP reached) and difficulty, all configurable. The points rolled will be multiplied by 1.5 by default on all difficulties, and each hour the healing rate will be substracted. The base healing rate is 80 points per hour, increased by 40 (80 on Rookie) when staffing a scientist in the AWC.
|Calculated Wound Time|
|% HP lost||Minimum Points||Maximum Points||Minimum Time||Maximum Time|
|0 - 10||1000||7500||0 days and 19 hours||5 days and 21 hours|
|10 - 20||5000||12500||3 days and 22 hours||9 days and 19 hours|
|20 - 30||10000||17500||7 days and 20 hours||13 days and 17 hours|
|30 - 40||15000||22500||11 days and 18 hours||17 days and 14 hours|
|40 - 50||20000||27500||15 days and 15 hours||21 days and 12 hours|
|50 - 60||25000||32500||19 days and 13 hours||25 days and 10 hours|
|60 - 70||30000||37500||23 days and 11 hours||29 days and 8 hours|
|70 - 80||35000||42500||27 days and 9 hours||33 days and 5 hours|
|80 - 90||40000||47500||31 days and 6 hours||37 days and 3 hours|
|90 - 100||45000||75000*||35 days and 4 hours||58 days and 15 hours*|
* On Rookie difficulty the maximum points are reduced to 55000, making the maximum time 43 days and 0 hours.
Bleedout and Death
If a soldier loses all their HP, they can either enter a state where they're bleeding out but not dead yet, or outright die without any chance of saving them. The chance for a bleed-out to happen depends on the amount of overkill damage they took: if they took the same damage as the HP they had, the bleedout chance is 90%, reduced by 20% for each point of damage extra. The "Stay With Me" training done in the Guerrilla Tactics School makes the game roll up to 50 instead of up to 100, effectively doubling the chances:
|Chance to Bleed Out|
|No "Stay With Me"||90%||70%||50%||30%||10%||0%|
|With "Stay With Me"||100%||100%||100%||60%||20%||0%|
Bleeding out soldiers have a limited time to get treatment: if 4 turns pass and they haven't been stabilized with a medikit or a Medical Protocol, evac'd out by having your other soldiers pick them up, or the mission hasn't ended, they will die. After being stabilized soldiers will become unconscious, after which they can be brought back up with a Revival Protocol, but it's recommended to heal them up to reduce the risk of death.
|XCOM Units in Long War 2|